Doctors: Here's how you can save your patients money.
We hear a lot of complaints about the cost of healthcare these days with insurance premiums and drug prices rising while healthcare spending is steadily spinning out of control!
Can we, as doctors do anything about this? Well, we can certainly try!
We believe that physicians must serve as patients' advocates in both medical and financial decisions. Thus, physicians must be aware of numerous ways of how they can help their patients make better choices.
Here's a Simple Way to Save Patients Money:
When sending patients for non-urgent laboratory and radiology testing, it is almost always a sound decision to use independent lab or free standing imaging facility rather that hospital lab or radiology department.
Are hospitals bad or do they provide poor service? Of course not.
In fact, you may get results on your patients much faster if tests are done in the hospital.
However, by virtue of being a hospital, it must remain open 24 hrs a day and be available for emergency services at all times. And a hospital needs to have both medical and custodial staff at all times. While this is definitely necessary, it also creates a huge overhead expense. This, in turn, makes ALL hospital based services very costly. Many residents and fellows get in the habit of using hospital labs and radiology services even for their clinic patients. It is very important , however, to understand just how much such services may cost.
Did you know that the price of a simple chest X ray done at a hospital is at least 3 times as much as that of a free standing facility? Most routine labs are almost four times the cost when compared to independent labs.
Knowing this, should we stop using hospitals for any outpatient services to solve healthcare crises? Of course not, and we are not suggesting that. We are just pointing out the facts and it's up to you to decide how to use them.
As doctors, if we remember to do the right thing by our patients on daily basis they will be happier, kinder, and....perhaps a little less sick?